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Replace cheap meat with new policies that respect people and animals

Set a livable minimum wage across the economy, and make real food more accessible. Hungry people who work hard and long are the ones who must buy fast food, cheap meat and junk food. Lift the prosperity of working-class Americans while supplying the market with affordable and healthy alternatives instead of inventing more “choice.”

Provide a swift path to citizenship for immigrants, and eliminate the tipped wage. Undocumented labor powers the meat and restaurant industries and allows corporations to pocket the profits on denied benefits, taxes and fair wages.

Phase out medium and large CAFOs. Cory Booker has introduced a bill that would get it done. We don’t need these animal-raising facilities any more than we need coal plants. Even easier: Enforce existing regulations. One other thing that would cut meat consumption with almost no work? Full transparency in the form of publicly available webcam broadcasts of factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Ramp up collective bargaining, accountability, and inspection in the meatpacking industry. Injuries happen in meatpacking plants because bosses are constantly trying to speed up the chain that moves carcasses by minimizing the inspections required — they even want their own employees to do it. Slow them down, provide union representation to stand up for workers and make workers’ jobs safer.

Start talking about land reform. Returning land to Indigenous people, and making Black people, other people of color, and women equal partners in land ownership and farming will improve food sovereignty and provide us with a collective right to determine what we eat. We don’t have that now: Our diet is determined in corporate boardrooms based on what’s most profitable.

The uncomfortable reality is that stopping meat production means stopping meat production, not producing something else that reminds us of meat. The latest report from the meat-substitute industry says that if all goes according to plan, these tech meats will be 22 percent of the global market by 2035, and that’s hardly enough, especially while the OECD predicts a 12 percent expansion in meat production by the end of this decade. We ought to confront agribusiness, and the myths that preserve their power, head-on.

Excerpted from How to Replace Meat by Mark Bittman
The Bittman Project

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